Sunday, November 16, 2008

Recently Available Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Charleston v. Rojas, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91573 (CD IL, Nov. 12, 2008), an Illinois federal district court dismissed an inmate's complaint that authorities denied his request for a vegan diet for religious reasons. the court found that plaintiff had not exhausted his administrative remedies.

In Berry v. Waushara County Jail, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91540 (ED WI, Nov. 4, 2008), plaintiff alleged that jail authorities violated his rights under the 1st Amendment and RLUIPA by failing to provide him with a Halal diet, refusing to let him order religious items, denying Muslims group worship and forcing him to purchase a Q'uran while Bibles were given out for free. The court allowed plaintiff to proceed in his claim for damages against the jail administrator in his official capacity, but dismissed claims for injunctive relief because plaintiff was now housed in a different facility.

In Means v. Lampert, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92257 (WD OK, Nov. 12, 2008), an Oklahoma federal district court held that an inmate's complaint should be construed to include a RLUIPA claim even though only 1st Amendment claims were initially referenced.

In Mosley v. Campbell, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71454 (ED CA, Aug. 11, 2008), a California federal district court approved a magistrate's recommendation (2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92409, July 15, 2008) to dismiss a Muslim inmate's challenge to prison grooming standards. The court found that plaintiff was not disciplined because he grew his beard, but instead because he "designed" the beard differently from its natural growth.